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As Europe continues to be squeezed by overtourism and short-term rentals mushroom to accommodate visitors, cities across the continent are noting more and more that residents are being squeezed out.
Now, one of Europe’s biggest tourist destinations is taking action. The city of Florence has announced plans to ban new short-term rentals such as Airbnbs.
The new legislation, which will be voted on next Wednesday and is expected to be active by November, will ban any further properties in the historic center of the city being registered as short-term rentals.
Mayor of Florence Dario Nardella said in a statement shared with CNN that the “very important” legislation was tackling “an emergency situation of total deregulation.”
“We are witnessing a progressive growth in the influx of tourists which has become even more pronounced since the pandemic,” he added.
Figures from the city council show that 75% of Florence’s short-term rentals are concentrated in just 5% of the municipal territory – the city’s centro storico, the birthplace of the Renaissance and a UNESCO World Heritage site. The legislation aims to tackle that 5%.
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If approved, the legislation will ban the registration of any new short-term rentals in the city center. Additionally, in a bid to incentivize residential contracts, any owners who convert Airbnbs into a long-term residential let will have their property taxes on the building zeroed out for three years.
The law will not be retroactive – so anyone with an existing short-term rental contract will be able to retain it. Around 4,000 new registrations have been made since the move was announced, according to local media. Some were already operating illegally; others are putting in requests for plans to Airbnb their properties in the future.
Nardella said that the authorities were taking action to protect Florence’s global heritage.
“We are putting a simple ban in the UNESCO area to meet our responsibilities of protecting the cultural and material identity of the centro storico, and to dampen the effect of rent increases across the entire city – which are directly linked to the boom of short-term tourist rentals.”
Calling for urgent national legislation from the government, Nardella said that the Florence authorities had “rolled up our sleeves because for too long we’ve been asking for regulation that never happens.”
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As the summer travel season comes to a close, one airline is giving travelers a reason to start planning next summer's vacation. Delta Air Lines announced it will be operating its largest trans-Atlantic flight schedule ever, debuting just in time for summer 2024. The airline will be adding new destinations including Naples and bringing back service to Shannon, Ireland. According to Delta, next summer it will operate 260 weekly flights to 18 countries in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK). This includes a new flight from JFK to Munich three times a week that will start on April 9, 2024, and a daily nonstop flight to Shannon, Ireland that will begin on May 23, 2024. The carrier will expand its existing service to Italy — it already flies to Milan, Venice, and Rome — with a new daily service to Naples. It will also resume service between Atlanta and Zurich, Switzerland, four times a week, which had originally been cut in 2019.
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Manhattan’s Lower East Side has always been known for its gritty edge. This is the place where immigrants, arriving from Ellis Island and typically holed up in a tenement apartment, had their first view of New York, and indeed of their version of the ‘Great American Dream’. As a consequence, there is still a strong presence felt of a wide variety of different communities and cultures – from Jewish to Italian. In fact, at the crossroads with China Town, Little Italy and SoHo, you still feel as if you are in the heart of the city’s infamous melting pot which makes this city so diverse and exhilarating.
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